Memorial Day weekend events and more to do this week (May 23-30)

Some highlights include Colonial Williamsburg's Memorial Day Commemorative Program, the York County Memorial Day Ceremony and an evening of patriotic crafts at Pearl Bailey Library.

There are a wide variety of things to do in the Historic Triangle and surrounding region as we head into the long weekend.

Some highlights for this week include Colonial Williamsburg’s Memorial Day Commemorative Program, the York County Memorial Day Ceremony in Yorktown, an evening of patriotic crafts for adults at Pearl Bailey Library and a sunset kayak tour at New Quarter Park.

All active duty military, reservists, retirees, veterans, national guardsmen and their immediate dependents will also receive free admission to Colonial Williamsburg May 27-30.

You’ll notice that I’ve rearranged the order of the events. The multi-day events now appear after the single-day events, and I’ve also included a special section for Memorial Day-themed events this week.

If you’d like to tell me about a future event, please hit “reply” to this email.


Monday, May 23

  • Little Scientists – Pearl Bailey Library (Newport News). Kids ages 5-10 are invited to have fun with catapults at this meeting of Little Scientists. 5:00 – 5:30 pm.
  • Live Music Mondays: Junior Wilson – Spoke & Art Provisions Co. (Williamsburg). Spoke & Art is running a weekly Live Music Monday series through May 30. This week’s featured artist is Junior Wilson. 5:00 – 8:00 pm.
  • Batten Down the Hatches! – Grissom Library (Newport News). Learn how to be ready for hurricanes and other powerful storms in Hampton Roads during Hurricane Preparedness Month. For adults 18+. 6:30 pm.

Tuesday, May 24

  • Art House Cafe Film Series: “Wife of a Spy” – Williamsburg Library Theatre (Williamsburg). This week’s featured film is Wife of a Spy (2020). NR. Plus, hear from film experts, enjoy light refreshments and stick around for a post-film discussion. Free. 2:00 pm.
  • Indoor Cycle 101 – James City County Recreation Center (Williamsburg). This class will teach you everything you need to know to get started with indoor cycling. No bike experience is required. For adults 14 through adult. Free. 5:30 – 6:15 pm.
  • Kick Off the Summer! ☀️- Grissom Library (Newport News). Kids ages 3-11 are invited to kick off the summer season with watermelon suncatchers, candy butterflies, sand slime and ice cream. Registration is required. Free. 6:00 pm.

Wednesday, May 25

  • Novel Ideas Contemporary Book Club: Cilka’s Journey – James City County Library (Williamsburg) and Virtual. This book club explores classic and contemporary nonfiction from around the world. May’s featured title is Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris. See website for Zoom link. 2:00 pm.
  • Yoga @ Grissom – Grissom Library (Newport News) and Virtual. Instructor Emily Coyner teaches introductory yoga classes every Wednesday evening, no experience required. Spots are limited; all participants must register for either the in-person or virtual classes. 6:00 – 7:30 pm.
  • Port Warwick Summer Concert Series: Slapnation – William Styron Square. Port Warwick’s Summer Concert Series kicks off on May 25 with rockin’ disco music by Slapnation. Bring your own lawn chair or blanket, food and drink. Free. 6:00 – 9:00 pm.
  • Moonlight & Music – New Quarter Park (Williamsburg). Local musician Joe Duggan will perform acoustic music in the beautiful setting of New Quarter Park. Free. 6:30 pm.
  • Excel III: Charts & Graphs Workshop ✔️– Pearl Bailey Library (Newport News). Students will learn the basics of creating a chart or graph in Microsoft Excel during this one-hour, one-session workshop. Participants should have prior knowledge of the basic features of Microsoft Excel. Registration required. 6:30 – 7:30 pm.
  • Director’s Series: Lonnie G. Bunch III – Jamestown Settlement’s Robins Foundation Theatre (Jamestown) and Virtual. Lonnie G. Bunch III will engage in a lively, enlightening conversation with Christy S. Coleman, executive director of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation at this thought-provoking event. Lonnie G. Bunch III is the first African American and first historian to serve in the prominent role of Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. Bunch will discuss how museums have evolved in recent decades and the role they play in public life now. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are $10 for either in-person or virtual attendance. 7:00 pm.

Thursday, May 26

  • Virginia Arts Festival Coffee Concert – Ferguson Center for the Arts (Newport News). This performance will feature classics by four extraordinary young artists as well as an accomplished favorite of the local music scene. Performers include violinist Brendon Elliott and cellist Sterling Elliott, Canadian violinist Maithena Girault, Russian-American pianist Vladislav Kern and former Principal Violist of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Beverly Kane Baker. 10:30 am. Tickets are $20.00; discounts are available for seniors, military and students.
  • City Center Farmers Market – City Center at Oyster Point (Newport News). Find fresh, healthy, farm-to-table foods like produce, beef, jams and local treats at this Farmers Market, every Thursday through September 1. 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.
  • Throwback Thursday Film Series: “The Right Stuff” – Williamsburg Library Theatre (Williamsburg). The Throwback Thursday Film Series, now in its 19th year, features a variety of classic movies for an adult audience. This month’s featured film is The Right Stuff (1983). PG. Free. 2:00-5:15 pm.
  • Writers’ Workshop ️- Grissom Library (Newport News). The Writers’ Workshop meets every fourth Thursday of the month. Instructors Howard Manly and Angie Taliferro lead the group in focusing on a different element of writing or common writing problem each month. For adults 18 and up. 5:30 – 7:30 pm.
  • Patriotic Arrangements ⭐- Pearl Bailey Library (Newport News). Participate in an evening of patriotic crafts just in time for Memorial Day or 4th of July decorating. All materials are provided and refreshments will be served. Registration is required. For adults 18 and older. Free. 6:00 – 7:30 pm.
  • Sunset Kayak Tour – New Quarter Park (Williamsburg). This introduction to kayaking class will feature a short safety/paddling demonstration followed by a sunset excursion on Queens Creek. Must register by May 24. $25 for residents; $35 for non-residents. Program begins 1.5 hours before sunset.

Friday, May 27

  • Main Street Library’s Chess Club ♞- Main Street Library (Newport News). Kids ages 5-17 are invited to this chess club, which meets every two weeks from 1:00 – 3:00 pm.
  • Museum Murder Mystery: Murder in the Music Gallery – Hennage Auditorium (Colonial Williamsburg). A museum photographer is found murdered in the gallery. View the crime scene and hear interviews with experts and suspects as you collaborate with others to solve this fictitious murder. Art museum admission or Good Neighbor pass plus program ticket required. Program tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for youth. 4:00 – 5:45 pm.
  • Live Music on the Pavilion: Ron Fetner 🎵– Williamsburg Winery (Williamsburg). Enjoy wine in a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere while listening to live music by Ron Fetner. 4:00 – 7:00 pm.
  • Live Music: Scott Varney 🎵– Virginia Beer Co. (Williamsburg). Scott Varney will perform live to kick off the long weekend. 6:00 – 9:00 pm.

Saturday, May 28

  • Bird Walk 🐦- New Quarter Park (Williamsburg). Participate in a hike through New Quarter Park, where you’ll find a wide variety of birds. Binoculars will be available for loan at the main office. Hosted by the Williamsburg Bird Club. Register by May 26. Free. 8:00 am.
  • Yorktown Market Days 🚜- Riverwalk Landing (Yorktown). Shop for seasonal produce, freshly baked goods, honey, handmade soaps and candles, artwork and more from local creators and artisans. 8:00 am – 12:00 pm.
  • Williamsburg Farmers Market 🚜- Duke of Gloucester Street and P4 parking lot (Williamsburg). The Williamsburg Farmers Market is back for the 2022 season! Shop from producers of locally grown produce, baked goods, cut flowers, organic vegetables, herbs, pasture-raised meats, cheeses, fresh bread, honey and more. Visa, Mastercard, SNAP and W&M express are now accepted. 8:00 am – noon.
  • Toano Open Air Market 🚜– 7891 Richmond Rd (Toano). Shop safely every Saturday while supporting local farmers, artisans, pollinators and a variety of other vendors. Pre-ordering is recommended in order to ensure product availability. 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
  • Story Trail 📖- James City County Library (Williamsburg). Families are invited to take a walk outdoors and read a story at the James City County Library Story Trail. Walk from page to page in the green space behind the library any time from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.
  • Historic Organ Recital with Thomas Marshall 🎵– Wren Chapel at (Williamsburg). Thomas Marshall, organist at Williamsburg United Methodist Church, will perform on Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic English Chamber Organ. Free and open to the public. 10:00 – 10:30 am.
  • DIY Rain Barrel ✔️– Mariners’ Museum (Newport News). Mariners’ Museum is partnering with Newport News Master Gardeners to serve as a drive-through location for registrants to obtain supplies to create their own rain barrels. Using a rain barrel in your yard is a great way to help conserve water. $60 per barrel. See website for additional details. Pick up time is from 10:00 – 11:00 am.
  • Creek Pick Your Paddle🌷- York River State Park (Williamsburg). Explore the beautiful wetlands of Taskinas Creek and the York River by canoe or kayak at this event. Canoes and kayaks are available for rent; call the park office for fees and reservations. 10:00 am – 12:00 pm.
  • Saturday Acoustic Brunch: Sean Balick 🎵– Spoke & Art Provisions Co (Williamsburg). Enjoy brunch while hearing live music by Sean Balick. 11:00 am.
  • Memorial Day Walking Tour of Historic Yorktown ⭐- Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters (Yorktown). This tour will travel to Grace Episcopal Cemetery where prominent Yorktown citizens are buried. You’ll also stop at several other local landmarks along the way, including the Monument to Victory and Alliance. 11:00 am – 12:00 pm. Tickets are $10, free for children under 12.
  • Opening Day at the Pools 🌊- Chickahominy Riverfront Park & Upper County Park (James City County). The county’s two outdoor pools and splash pad will open for the summer on Memorial Day weekend. Pool fees apply. All ages welcome. 11:00 am – 6:00 pm.
  • COLORS: Meet the Artists 🖌️– Stryker Center (Williamsburg). This collaborative show features two longtime friends, photographer Kathy Hornsby and painter Connie Desaulniers, who will share their love of color saturation in their art forms. This exhibit can be viewed weekdays from 9:00 to 5:00 pm through May 27. The artists will be present on May 27 for the exhibit’s closing day. 12:00 – 5:00 pm.
  • Paws to Read 📖- Main Street Library (Newport News). Kids ages 6-11 can practice reading skills alongside trained therapy dogs. No registration is required. 2:00 pm.
  • Scales & Tails 🦎- Newport News Park (Newport News). Meet at Discovery Center to learn about the fascinating lives of amphibians and reptiles living in Newport News Park. This event will be held at two different times: 10:00 am & 2:00 pm.
  • Live Music: Grayson Torrence 🎵– Brass Cannon Brewing Co. (Williamsburg). Grayson, a local singer/songwriter, will perform a wide variety of tunes from classic hits to today’s new music. 6:00 – 9:00 pm.
  • Bats! 🦇- Newport News Park (Newport News). Learn all about the fascinating bat: the only mammal that truly flies. 8:00 pm.
  • Candlelight Organ Recital: Rebecca Davy 🎵– Bruton Parish Church (Williamsburg). Enjoy a recital by Rebecca Davy, music director and organist at historic Bruton Parish Church. Free and open to the public. 8:00 – 9:00 pm.

Sunday, May 29

  • River Seine 🌷- York River State Park (Williamsburg). Discover unique fish and shellfish by following the Woodstock Pond Trail during this ranger-guided activity. Included with park admission. 1:00 – 3:00 pm.
  • Dungeons & Dragons 🎮– Tabb Library (Yorktown). Middle and high school students are invited to attend this fun Dungeons and Dragons day. This event is a great way to get started with D&D. Registration is required. 1:00 – 4:30 pm.
  • Live Music on the Pavilion: Felicia Hoyos🎵– Williamsburg Winery (Williamsburg). Enjoy wine in a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere while listening to live music by Felicia Hoyos. 4:00 – 7:00 pm.
  • Roaming Ranger🌷- York River State Park (Williamsburg). Meet with a naturalist/ranger and discover the aquatic, mammal, insect and plant life in the ecosystem of this 2,000-acre park. Included with park admission. 4:00 – 5:00 pm.
  • As Far As the Stars Night Hike– York River State Park (Williamsburg). Participate in a magical journey through the night to observe wildlife at the York River State Park. Free with park admission. 7:30 – 9:00 pm.

Memorial Day Events

  • Free Admission Honoring Service to America ⭐- Colonial Williamsburg. Colonial Williamsburg is offering free admission during Memorial Day weekend to all active duty military, reservists, retirees, veterans, national guardsmen and their immediate dependents, May 27-30, 2022. Free admission includes admission to historic trades and sites, admission to our two world-class art museums and complimentary shuttle service.
  • Memorial Mile ⭐- Waller Mill Park (Williamsburg). Williamsburg Parks and Recreation will honor the sacrifices of fallen military, fire, emergency medical services and law enforcement members by sharing their fallen hero stories at Waller Mill Park. The public is invited to participate by sharing their own story about a fallen hero. To submit a fallen hero story, click here. May 27 – May 30.
  • Grace Church Memorial Day Ceremony ⭐- Grace Episcopal Church (Yorktown). Monday, May 30. A prayer service will be held in Historic Grace Episcopal Church (ca 1697). The historic Church Bell (ca 1725) will be tolled 21 times, and a brief ceremony with playing of the “Taps” will be held following the service. 10:00 – 11:30 am.
  • Memorial Day Commemorative Program ⭐- Palace Green (Colonial Williamsburg). Monday, May 30. A Memorial Day Commemoration will be held on Palace Green. The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation will honor those who sacrificed their lives to defend our nation during a traditional wreath-laying ceremony. Free and open to the public. 10:00 am.
  • York County Memorial Day Ceremony ⭐- York Hall (Yorktown). Monday, May 30. The annual York County Memorial Day Ceremony will kick off at noon at the War Memorial on the grounds of York Hall (301 Main Street). The public is invited to honor those who died to preserve our nation’s freedom. Members of Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 824, will serve as the Color Guard, and a laying of the wreaths ceremony will be conducted. Prior to the start of the ceremony, the Fifes and Drums of York Town will perform while marching to the site at 11:45 am. Free. 12:00 – 1:00 pm.

Multiple Days

  • Plants with a Purpose Honor Box Plant Sale🌷- Williamsburg Botanical Garden and Freedom Park Arboretum in Williamsburg. This event begins on April 23 and ends on May 31. From 7:00 am until sunset, find plants that are beneficial to the local ecosystem and attract pollinators and local wildlife. Pay with cash in the locked drop box on the sale rack or pay online here after the sale begins. Prices are marked on the plants. Sign up for email updates on ongoing plant sales here.
  • Palace Concert 🎵– Governor’s Palace (Colonial Williamsburg). Tuesdays, May 24 and 31. This elegant special music event features the Governor’s Musick, Colonial Williamsburg’s early music ensemble and will be held every Tuesday throughout the month of May. You’ll enjoy 17th- and 18th-century music for flute, harpsichord, voice and strings. Not appropriate for children six and under. Tickets are $19 for adults, $12 for children ages 6-12. Tuesday 7:00 – 8:00 pm.
  • Revolutionary Points of View – Capitol Hall of Burgesses at Colonial Williamsburg. This event will be held every Tuesday (May 24 and 31). Step back in time to the eve of the American Revolution and hear a wide range of points of view about the war and independence – and then join in on the debate to decide whether we remain British or become Americans. Two time slots are available: 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm and 8:30 pm – 9:30 pm. Tickets are $16 for adults; $9 for children under 12.
  • Intersections – Colonial Williamsburg (in front of Raleigh Tavern). This street theatre experience explores the daily lives of ordinary people in the extraordinary times of the 18th century. Sundays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through May 29. Free and open to the public. 11:00 – 11:35 am.
  • Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival – Busch Gardens in Williamsburg. This event is the largest spring food and wine festival in Virginia. It features over 100 dishes, wines, cocktails and craft beers from around the globe, including new offerings inspired by Australia and Greece. Live music and entertainment will also take place. April 28 – June 12; see website for times and ticket details.
  • Freedom Park Spring Photo Contest – Freedom Park is hosting a spring photo contest through May 13. Entries can be submitted here. Limit of two entries per participant. Voting will be open to the public from May 20 – June 20.
  • Teen Cooking Kit – Tabb Library (Yorktown). Teens are invited to stop by the library to pick up a YCPL Teen Cooking kit, starting today. Kits will be available all month, while supplies last. The kit features the spice of the month – sage – along with recipes using that spice.
  • Aqua Zumba Classes – Kingswood Pool (Williamsburg). Classes are open to the public and held on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:30 am. No pool membership is required; just drop in. Cost is $10 per session or $80 for 10 sessions.
  • Afterschool Crafts– James City County Library. Monday – Thursday, 4:00-7:00 pm; Friday, 4:00-6:00 pm. This drop-in event features new crafts every week.


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